The next time you are at a funeral and someone says, “At least they’ve gone on to a better place”, I want you to ask yourself the question: “How does someone know that?” No one has ever said at a funeral “They have gone to a worse place”. But the Bible says there is such a place. Has no one ever gone there? Yes. Many. Actually, probably more people will be in Hell than in heaven. I say that because Jesus alluded to it when He said in Matthew 7, “Broad is the road that leads to destruction and wide is the gate for many are on it. But narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it.”
Hell is the place where God will execute His divine retribution on all people and angels for their evil, wicked, and sin. It is a place where He will finally give justice to those who have exercised evil in the world, who have scorned God and rejected Him.
It doesn’t matter what you were on earth. Great and small, mighty and weak, rich or poor – on the day you stand before God your status, achievements, influence, wealth, and whatever other worldly gain you have acquired will not be able to keep you from God’s Judgment. He is impressed by no one.
Our sermon title is called “Do not go to Hell (Part 2)”. We are looking at 5 reasons why you do not want to go to Hell. Review: Do not go to Hell because 1) it is a place of separation, and 2) it is a place where you consciously exist.
Remember that there were 2 misconceptions we addressed last time. First, Satan does not occupy Hell right now, and second, He does not govern Hell.
#3: Don’t go to hell because it is a place of exceeding Pain.
Look now at how Jesus describes the man in hell. In verse 23 He says the man was “in torment”. In verse 24 the man himself says that he is “in agony”. In verse 25 Abraham says to the man, “you are in agony”. Then in verse 28 the man is pleading with Abraham to send a messenger to his brothers who are still living because he does not want any of his relatives to “come to this place of torment.” Do not go to Hell because it is a place of exceeding pain. No morphine, no norco, no dilaudid, no medications to numb the pain. Just pain.
Take a moment also and notice that Jesus Christ is the One describing Hell for us. Is this a striking thought to you? Does it strike you that the One people describe as loving children and teaching peace and kindness is the one who also gave us the most terrifying descriptions of Hell? Spurgeon pointed this out to me when I read his words: “It is a very remarkable fact that no inspired preacher of whom we have any record ever uttered such terrible words concerning the destiny of the lost as our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words the information we have about this terrible place comes from Jesus. A fact overlooked by many who look at Him as some sort of non-judgmental, effeminate, never said anything mean kind of guy. It was Jesus who said in Luke 12:49, “I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it was already kindled.”
And then the pain will begin.
It is pain on top of pain. People in hell wish they could go back to the pain they had on earth. The pain in Hell is the most dynamic pain imaginable. And it is a comprehensive pain – it involves the whole person, not just one aspect of someone’s being. Everything about a person is in agony – their mental, physical, spiritual, emotional condition – everything.
There is the extreme physical pain of fire and whatever else God uses to afflict their bodies. So often the Bible says people in Hell will be “gnashing their teeth.”
There is going to be intense emotional pain. People in Hell will be weeping. Luke 13:28 Jesus says, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…” You read that phrase so many times in the Gospels. The sounds of desparate crying will fill the halls of Hell forever. People will bawl forever there. There will never be any depression on earth that compares with the painful depression in Hell. Nothing fuels depression like hopelessness and there is no hopelessness like that which Hell brings. On top of that there are the oppressive feelings of complete abandonment and utter loneliness that will never let up. No one on earth is truly and totally abandoned. There are many who care for the destitute and abandoned and take up their cause. But in Hell no one – no one – cares for your well-being. No one tries to help you. God has forsaken those who are in Hell and cut them off from anything that would bring any relief.
Notice the man “remembers” in verse 25. Abraham tells him to remember. What do people “remember” in hell? People in hell will remember their life on earth while they are in hell. This man will live forever now with the memory that he used to have it so good. Hell has been for him a great reversal. And do you see how Abraham does not grant any relief to the man when he asks for it? Do you see the irony in this? The man wants Lazarus to relieve his suffering but the man never gave any relief to Lazarus in when they were on earth. All the man wants is for Lazarus to dip his finger to relieve his suffering but he never lifted his finger to relieve Lazarus. This realization only added to the man’s suffering.
This is a warning to all on earth: Abraham’s terrible words will be true for them, “But now”. It will be said to anyone rejecting God on that day, “Remember how you had it so good on earth, BUT NOW…” In that day it won’t matter what you were on earth. All great men will be brought low, their riches power and conquests will be forgotten. None of it will be of any help as they stand poor, naked, weak before their Maker and Judge. Hell will be the great reversal.
There is going to be great fear. First there is fear for yourself of which you will never get used to. If we don’t think God can be frightening we don’t know Him. Job 23:15-16, That is why I am terrified before Him, when I think of all this, I fear Him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.” Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes I tell you, fear Him.” He is not talking about Satan. Jesus is saying to fear God. Now may I remind us that it was also the resurrected and glorified Jesus who told John in Revelation 1:18, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and hades.”
Secondly, there is great fear he has that others would come to hell. The man does not desire for others to join him in Hell. Let someone warn my brothers so that they will not come to be with me in this horrid place of torment! His fear of people joining him in Hell is greater than his desire for companionship in Hell. The irony of this is even more salient when we realize Hell is the loneliest existence there is. There is no place where you would feel the pain of being alone more. But, he would rather suffer alone than know that others he loves would come and suffer this way.
Don’t ever think it’s a party and people who are bad are going there to enjoy their bad activities together. People in Hell do not want you to go there because it is so bad. The man would do anything to prevent others from going there. He wishes there were evangelists from Hell sent to earth to warn people not to go to Hell. He wishes the people on earth knew the terrors of this place so that no one would go.
The pain goes on. In Hell there is the spiritual torment of unmet cravings for sin. In Hell the desire for sin, to satisfy the craving to commit sin will be so extreme – and yet there will not be the slightest way to satisfy that urge. Paul spoke of temptation as “burning” within a man. The man who wants a drink can have one now. But he has yet to desire alcohol here on earth like he will want it in Hell. He can drink now and satisfy that craving, but when he is in hell he will not be able to get even a drop of water from someone’s finger.
The man who wants sex will never be able to satisfy the urge. The woman who wants to be worshipped for her beauty will be a loathsome sight to all. The person who wants power will be completely helpless. The one who wants money will be in the worst of poverty. The one who wants to be glorified will be forever shamed. .
The Bible indicates that the pain in Hell will be by degrees. In other words, while all will be suffering, not everyone will be suffering to the same degree. Turn with me back to Luke 12:47-48. Just like there will be different levels of rewards for people in heaven for their faithfulness, so too there will be different levels of suffering for people in hell for their personal sin. Why is this important? Because God is just. God will pay everyone back for their sins. All sin is not the same. All sin is against the same God, but, not all sins are equal. There are worse sins than others. We should not buy into the misnomer that “all sins is equal”. That isn’t supported Biblically.
#4: Don’t go to hell because once you go there you will never leave.
Do not go to Hell because once you go there you will never leave. While it is not explicitly taught in this passage we do see a hint that Hell is forever here. When the man asks in verse 24 for a tiny drop of water he does not receive anything. Not even a tiny drop of water. Even people who were crucified were offered a drink from their executioners while they hung on the cross in the hot sun. Even hardened Roman soldiers who were executing the paria of society had at least a drop of compassion for their victims and offered them a drink. Jesus was offered a drink when He was crucified. But not in Hell. This man’s request goes unfulfilled. Why is not a drop of water given to the man? Because he is receiving the punishment he has been assigned and he will not be given anything to help him bear up under it.
This means there is no break from his continual pain. Hell is the place where oceans of God’s wrath rage but there is not one drop of His grace. Hell is where the hurricane of God’s judgment roars but there is no gentle breeze of mercy to be found. This man’s pain is unimaginable to us here today; it is unbearable and yet he must bear it without ever having any relief.
Does the Bible really say that? Does it really say that this place God has created called Hell is going to be forever? Yes! Try and keep up with me as we rapid-fire through verses. Isaiah 66:24; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41, 46; 2 Thess. 1:9; Hebrew 6:3; Jude 7; Revelation 14:14:9-11; 20:10.
The verses just keep piling up, God has warned repeatedly in the Bible, that Hell is forever – it is permanent. Once a person enters hell they will never leave. God has consigned a person to Hell and there is no one to appeal to and no one to reverse His decision. He is the highest judge and His court is the supreme court. Forever. And ever and ever. Just as heaven will last forever, so too will hell. There is no end.
There is no way to compare the utter hopelessness of Hell with anything else. (Bennie illustration – hope that an end will come to her suffering.)
#5: Don’t go to hell because once you go you will understand why you are there.
Do not go to Hell because once you go you will understand why you are there. One of the tortures of Hell will be this: each person will understand perfectly why they are there. They will be acutely aware of what they have missed and will have full knowledge that they only have themselves to blame. This will bring on them an intense pain of guilt and self-hatred.
How can we know this? First, because the Bible teaches that God is just. He is never unfair – no one ever gets away with it or gets more than they deserve. According to Romans 2:6, “God will give to each person according to what he has done.” In other words, people who are in Hell will understand completely that they deserve to be there because of what they have done. Like the thief on the cross who said in Luke 23:41, “we are getting what we deserve…” In Philippians 2:9-11 it says that everyone will confess Jesus as Lord – everyone in heaven, on the earth, and everyone under the earth.
In Revelation 20:12-13 it says that everyone, both great and small was raised up and stood before the great white throne to be judged. It says there were books open which had the records of everything they had done and everyone was judged according to what they had done. It is a scene of a future event where God is going to personally judge the lost according to their deeds as recorded accurately in the books, and as the Just One, His judgment will be perfectly just and no one will be able to argue against Him because He will judge them in truth.
Secondly, we can know everyone in Hell will never cry “foul” because everyone who is there will recognize that God is just and that what they are suffering is what they deserve. People in hell will be angry. But, no one will be angry with God. They will be angry with themselves. The reason they will not be angry with God is because in Hell everyone will understand they belong there, that they deserve the punishment they are getting. That they have no one to blame but themselves. No one will be claiming God is unjust in Hell. In prisons everyone says they are innocent, but, not in Hell. No one will protest that God is unfair and that they shouldn’t be there. That nonsense is heard only by those living upon the earth.
Now, imagine the emotional wrenching of knowing you deserve to be there, but, imagine how these feelings of shame will be compounded by the audience in heaven. See how Abraham and Lazarus are able to see and speak with the man across the chasm. See also how Abraham not only offers no sympathy for the man, but, he also affirms the man belongs in his tormented condition. It’s bad enough when you suffer and know it’s your fault, it’s worse when your folly and condition are public. Isaiah 66:24 indicates those suffering eternal torment will be visible to those in heaven [Read].
Let that sink in for a moment: there is no compassion for those in Hell. At least in this life you can find people to feel sorry for you and desire to ease your pain no matter what you’ve done. In Hell there will be no compassion. No one will desire to ease your pain. Others in Hell with you will be too occupied with their own agony to want to ease yours. Those in heaven will be able to see you in your torment, and they will not mourn for you. They will say that what you are enduring is just and right. They will feel not the slightest remorse for you because for a person in heaven to do so they would be reacting as though what God were inflicting on you were unjust. But, God is just, and that is the essence of why Hell exists. Now is the time God is offering His mercy instead of His wrath. But in Hell He will pull back on such offer and only dispense with His wrath.
Jesus taught about Hell because Jesus teaches what is true – and therefore He teaches that Hell is a place that really exists, and He teaches that it is a horrible place. Both are true. Listen to Matthew 25:30 when Jesus says “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In Isaiah 66:24, the very last verse of Isaiah, it says this: “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Their fire will not be quenched. So often fire is used in the description of Hell’s environment. Here in Luke 16 the man says in verse 24 that he is “in agony in this fire”. In Matthew 5:22 Jesus said that “anyone who says to another person ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fires of hell.” Turn to Matthew 18:8-9. Turn to Matthew 25:41. In Mark 9:48 Jesus quotes Isaiah 66:24 and says, “it is the place where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” In James 3:6 James says that the tongue of man is corrupt and is “itself set on fire by hell.” In Jude 7 we are told that “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” Finally in Revelation 20:15 we are told that anyone whose name was not in the book of life would be thrown into the lake of fire. In 21:8 there is a list of various types of sins and it says that the people who are guilty of these and unrepentant will have “their place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
We try to blunt the horror of Hell but we mustn’t. If we do not let the fearsome reality of Hell be told we blur the justice of God. Hell is a fierce place precisely because God is just. Also we rob Jesus of glories He rightly deserves for saving us from such a horrid place when we try to soften it’s image.
Many contend that God is not loving if Hell exists. That is foolish. We do not understand the gravity of sin, and sin against a holy God when we say such things. Actually, the more we see the true terrors of hell the more we see the holy qualities of God augmented. For instance, when we see Hell, we see God’s justice. God is not just if Hell does not exist. And the more we try to diminish the horrors of hell the more we diminish the justness of God. Because He is holy, Hell is terrifying. When we say God is not loving because of Hell’s existence, we only show how little we understand of God’s holiness. We must see the terrifying judgment of God to see how great His love is. Listen to the old hymn, Smitten, Stricken, & Afflicted in the 3rd verse,
“Ye who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great, Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate. Mark the Sacrifice appointed! See Who bears the awful load! ’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed, Son of Man, and Son of God.
In other words, in order to accurately estimate the seriousness of sin, meaning to rightly understand how serious sin is, we must look at what God did to His own Son. Look at how He poured His wrath on Him. Look at the suffering His Son endured.
Hell exists because God is holy and just. Hell is the place where God sends people who are unholy and who rebel against Him.
Secondly, when we see the true horrors of Hell, the more we will see that God is loving. A loving God would not want anyone to go to Hell. A loving God would find a way for people to not go to Hell. A loving God would come up with a plan so that people could escape Hell. A loving God would do whatever was necessary – even send His own Son to pay the penalty of death for sinful people – so that people could avoid Hell. A loving God would love justice and therefore He would come up with a plan that would uphold both His love AND His justice. He would not devise a plan that would violate His justice for the sake of love, nor a plan that would violate His love for the sake of justice. No, a God who is just and must judge sin and wickedness would find a way to be satisfied with some payment for wickedness and spare the offenders from Hell’s horrors.
Now, the fact that He sends people to Hell who reject Him and rebel against Him in no way conflicts with His love. Of course, this cannot be recognized by a society that thinks highly of itself and approves itself. It is amazing how spiteful people are over the smallest offenses, and how fiercely people justify their own grudges towards people who have wronged them. Listen to people talk. Look at how litigious our society is. Look at how often people seek to be seen as victims and blame others for their own conduct. People today with tooth and nail will hold on to their right to condemn others….and yet somehow this same society says God has no right to condemn those who offend Him. The hypocrisy is towering. God – who is perfect in holiness and justice – cannot carry out justice on those who have violated Him.
Do you know for sure today that you will not go to Hell when you die? If you don’t know for sure then heed the call of Scripture right now. Believe on the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for your sins. God gave Him over to death for your sake so that you cannot escape judgment.
- Why wait? Because you want to Enjoy the world? Jesus said, What does it profit you to gain the whole world but lose your soul? Because you want to Do it yourself? Don’t trust in yourself. God has already judged you and determined your guilt.
Escape Hell today, and secure Heaven for yourself. Look to Jesus Christ and believe on Him as He is the only One who can save you.